Time capsule from 1905 found in Mayo hotel

Copies of ‘Irish Times’, ‘Western People’ and ‘Punch’ among contents of time capsule

Some of the contents of a 111-year-old lead box time capsule found during renovations at Breaffy House Hotel outside Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

Some of the contents of a 111-year-old lead box time capsule found during renovations at Breaffy House Hotel outside Castlebar, Co Mayo. Photograph: Michael McLaughlin

 

When Dominick Sidney Browne placed a time capsule into a wall in south Mayo in February 1905, the world was in turmoil with the Russo-Japanese war in its second year.

The Trans-Siberian railway had just been opened, and the unsuccessful Russian revolution had claimed its first casualties.

Whatever his thoughts of the future, Deputy Lieut Browne, then captain of the 3rd Battalion of the 21st Royal Scots Fusiliers, filled a large lead case, made to last.

Inside, an envelope sealed with the Browne family crest contained two letters – one outlining his family history, and the other detailing the case’s contents, including copies of the Illustrated London News and The Irish Times.

Also included were copies of the Western People, the Connaught Telegraph, an edition of the humorous weekly Punch and the London Times.

There were sketch plans of his home, including details of an addition in 1904, and a small cloth purse with a set of Victorian currency and the currency of the reigning king, Edward VII.

“To whoever shall open the sealed leaden box containing these papers, I commend this envelope and its contents for preservation. DS Browne, February 6th 1905,” the letter said.

Family history

The family is related to the Brownes of Westport House, recently put up for sale.

The time capsule was discovered during renovations at what is now the Breaffy House Resort, outside Castlebar, Co Mayo, which was purchased by a consortium, including Liam Healy of the Healy Mac’s Irish bar and restaurant chain, in August 2014.

During work on the new bar, the construction team came across the lead case in a wall. Advice is to be sought on preserving the contents.